In 2018 we have seen some amazing performances by Asian fighters. We saw Naoya Inoue in 2 fantastic, albeit short, performances against Jamie McDonnell and Juan Carlos Payano, Vic Saludar put in a great performance to take the WBO Minimumweight title from Ryuya Yamanaka, Shakhram Giyasov stopping the tough Albert Mensah, Masayuki Ito shining on his US debut against Christopher Diaz and Manny Pacquiao rolling back the clock to stop Lucas Mathysse.
For us the best performance however was by Kenshiro [拳四朗], who looked amazing when he took apart Milan Melindo in a virtuoso performance.
Melindo, although not a pound for pound elite level fighter, was a bonafide world class fighter yet was made to look third rate by Kenshiro. The Japanese fighter had the perfect gameplan and executed it to perfection to inflict Melindo's first stoppage loss. A stoppage loss that came as a result on consistent, sharp punches from the WBC Light Flyweight champion. Despite only being 30 years old Melindo was made to look like a shot fighter, not a fighter who had beaten Hekkie Budler just 13 months earlier, or stopped Akira Yaegashi inside a round just 3 fights earlier.
What makes the performance from Kenshiro so outstanding was the way he completely shut down and in a way toyed with a world class fighter round after round. This wasn't a steam roller job over someone who wasn't given a chance to respond and was instead a prolonged exhibition in boxing behind a jab and moving around the ring. A real showcase of boxing skill.
Melindo hasn't fought since his loss, and we wouldn't be surprised to see him return at a much lower level in the future as he rebuilds his confidence, whilst Kenshiro went on to score another notable win in December, beating Saul Juarez.
One Sunday Japanese fight fans had the chance to see a a notable on Fuji TV. The main event saw WBA "regular" Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] defend his title, with a 70 second win over Dominican challenger Juan Carlos Payano (20-2, 9), whilst the chief supporting bout saw WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗] stop Milan Melindo (37-4, 13).
Today the TV numbers for the Kanto region we released.
The broadcast averaged 8.4% of the Kanto region and peaked at an impressive 12.6% of the audience share, with some speculating that the short length of the main event may have lead to a lower peak than expected. On the flipside of that Inoue's quick win may help increase numbers for future fights the fans now knowing he could take opponents out at any moment, and he has certainly seen a lot of press talking about the bout, which may also help intrigue in future bouts.
In raw numbers that's around 3.6 million watching on average from the Kanto region with a peak of 5.5 million viewers.
It should be noted that we haven't yet seen the specific break downs of the actual fights or the numbers from the Kansai region yet.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Yesterday we saw WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (14-0, 78) [拳四朗] put on a sensational performance as he stopped former IBF champion Milan Melindo to retain his WBC title, and stop the Filipino. Today he, along with his father and promoter Hisashi Teraji, too part in a press conference to talk about the contest and his future plans.
The youngster stated that it was easy to see Melindo's big right hand, which allowed him to avoid it, and that he did everything based on the gameplan, which involved upping the pace from round 3 or 4, something we actually saw happen.
His father suggested that they knew Melindo was tough but that he could be stopped on cuts, and that seemed to be part of their focus. Cutting Melindo and then banging away with power shots on the area of the cut around the left eye of Melindo.
It seemed clear that both Kenshiro and his father knew they were a secondary story of the day and jokingly suggested that the only way to take headlines from Naoya Inoue, who stopped Juan Carlos Payano in 70 seconds, would be to finish and opponent in around 10 seconds.
On the subject of Inoue it should be noted that Kenshiro and Inoue probably won't be on the same card next time out. Inoue is expected to be inactive until around March, when he will have his WBSS semi-final bout, whilst Kenshiro suggested he will be in action before the year is over, likely suggesting that he will be on a year ending Fuji card. Given his level of recent competition it's clear that he will want another world class fighter and there are plenty of those in the WBC rankings right now.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
On Sunday WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (13-0, 7) [拳四朗] will defend his title against Filipino challenger Milan Melindo (37-3, 13). The bout looks like an excellent one between two of the top Light Flyweights on the planet and we're expecting the contest to be something very special.
The bout has been picked up by the British bookies who have priced the bout up with Kenshiro as the betting favourite, priced at 4/9. Melindo on the other hand is a 2/1 under-dog.
For those struggling to split the two men the draw is available at 20/1.
Interestingly the UK bookmakers have got some alternative markets for the bout, including the "Method of Victory". The favoured result is Kenshiro by decision, at 11/10 whilst a stoppage win for the Japanese youngster is 11/4. A decision victory for the Filipino is 10/3 whilst a stoppage for the visitor is a huge 11/2.
WBC belt on the line as Kenshiro and Melindo battle on Sunday!
WBSS to be streamed free for UK and German audiences!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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